North Carolina residents may be interested to learn that there are an estimated 282,000 people living with a spinal cord injury in the United States. Every year, it is estimated that there are about 17,000 new cases. Approximately 45 percent of cases are incomplete tetraplegia which only affects some parts of the body. About 20 percent and 13.3 percent suffer from complete paraplegia and complete tetraplegia, respectively. The remaining 21.3 percent suffer from incomplete tetraplegia.
The average age of those who suffer a spinal cord injury is 42 years old, an increase from age 29 in the 1970s. Males reportedly account for 80 percent of any new spinal cord injuries that occur. Once an injury occurs, it is estimated that less than 1 percent experience complete recovery recovery before leaving the hospital. Thirty percent of patients are re-hospitalized throughout the following years with an average hospital stay being 22 days.
Car accidents are the most common cause of spinal cord injuries, with falls, gunshot wounds or other acts of violence and sports following behind. The lifetime costs of the injury depend on the severity of the injury. Those who suffered a spine injury to their high cervical vertebrae have average medical costs that exceed $1 million during the first year and around $200,000 during subsequent years. The average lifespan of those living with a spinal cord injuries are also significantly lower than those who have not suffered an injury.
Spinal cord injuries can be devastating and life-changing to both victims and their loved ones. When the injury has been caused by the negligence of a third party, such as a car collision caused by a drunk driver or a sudden fall on an unguarded slippery floor in a retail establishment, an attorney could often assist a victim in seeking appropriate compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.